A Forever Song

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.

Bess Streeter Aldrich

Singing in a home

Singing in a home

It Is Finished…Well Almost

The Christmas Holiday is upon us! My work for Christmas 2014 is almost done. I have sung my concerts. I have wrapped my gifts. I have bought our movie tickets for tomorrow. I have purchased the groceries for our Christmas meals. It is finished…well almost. Now all I have to do is walk through it. Here are some photos of our Christmas ministries this year.

 

 

I won’t be publishing tomorrow as it is Christmas Day. But please tune in on boxing Day to read my new flash fiction piece, The Steps of Laska.

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid

“The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid.'” Matthew chapter 1

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“Joseph was told not to be afraid, not because  God was going to take away all the fearful things but because the Messiah was coming into the world…into his family.” JE Lillie

“At some point in the Christmas story everyone lifts up their head.” Barry Risto

“The real gifts of Christmas are love, joy and peace.” Barry Risto

 

Daily Prompt: Getting Seasonal

Today the daily post at

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/getting-seasonal/

has challenged us to write from this theme…

The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?

 

My mother is an avowed “Christmasphobe”, always has been and as she is now in her late 70’s, probably always will be. My sister is mom’s foil when it comes to Christmas. She practically sneezes yuletide glitter out her nostrils. The resulting firestorm that comes in the spaces between these two ladies can be dangerous to navigate indeed. Whether to decorate the tree or burn the tree is a yearly discussion in our household.

I suppose my nack for survival  has made me a real middle of the road kind of guy when it comes to Christmas. We can neither deny the day nor can we celebrate and make merry like Fezziwig without causing caniptions in certain members of  our household. Balance is the key to a merry Christmas you see.

For myself I love the holiday. I love its true meaning apart from the trapping of lights and decorations, Santa and reindeer. I love the quiet cacophony of the Christ child born in a manger on a starry night lauded by angels and shepherds and kings. I would not hurry this sacred season. Neither do I want to lay myself low with over-indulgence and too much activity.

Our lead pastor asked this question in his sermon last week: “Why is it that the greatest celebrations bring the greatest tension in families?”

Perhaps it is because the people who can’t get enough and the people who can’t wait until it’s over are not willing to come to the middle of the road and accept that enough is as good as a feast until it’s over.

I have changed in my attitude over the years. I am settled into the seasons of life. I enjoy them for what they are and I do not mourn when they pass because they are all just a piece of the greater experience we call life and that is a very full thing.

Reflecting

Christmas will always be in the hearts of God’s children everywhere as they extend a helping hand to a friend in need … as they go about reflecting God’s goodness in the little quiet and unheralded expressions of a loving heart … as they share the light of the world with those who live in darkness .

Jane Hillsmen

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Two Down Three To Go!

With Christmas just a week away I am in full-blown concert season. My first Christmas worship session was last week at our annual Special Touch REACH New England Christmas Party. It was a great day enjoyed by about 50 disabled individuals and their caregivers. What a privilege to serve these folks!

Today I was able to bring communion and Christmas  music out to the Gardner Visiting Nurses Dayhab program. This is one of three off-campus services our church has the good fortune to be involved in.

Tomorrow night  we are sending out four caroling teams across the country-side to sing songs of the season. It’s just not Christmas without the music!

Heaven Pt. 159: God Stooping

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Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
    the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
    on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 113

One of my commentators recently asked a question about the incarnation of Christ, “How do you come to the conclusion that “God became human” when the young girl (Myriam/Miriam/Mary/Maria) became pregnant from a child without sexual contact with any being?  Where in your Bible can you find such a thing? That Jesus would be human without limitation is contradicted in the same proof of him not being God, by him not knowing everything and having to learn everything, plus being able to be tempted and by being able to die and to come into hell for three days.
God knows everything, has no beginning (= not born) has no end (= can not die) plus according to the Bible is an eternal Spirit Who can not be seen by man or they would die. Jesus was seen by many, who did not fall death, and even took some out of dead and proofed after his resurrection out of the dead, that he was not a Spirit..” (sic)

The writer of this comment seems stuck on the implausibility of God becoming a man. I can understand that. How is such a thing even possible? How could the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, eternal, invisible God become a limited, uneducated mortal bound by the laws of time and space?

Psalm 113 verse 6 gives us the simple answer, “He stooped”.

A miracle by its definition takes the impossible and makes it possible. A Miracle takes the unexplainable and reveals it (even if most times it doesn’t explain it).

The incarnation (God becoming man and yet remaining God) is a miracle revealed by Scripture if not explained:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-14

 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,” Col. 1:15-19 

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Col. 2:9

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4: 14-15

Scripture doesn’t tell us how it is so; It just says it is so. I am pretty certain that is because even were He to explain it we could never understand it, at least not from our current perspective.

I have to tell you though God becoming man is not the most unfathomable thing in the whole Christmas story. Honestly, God WANTING to become a man is far more incredible to me.

“I don’t know why Jesus loved me. I don’t know why He cared. I don’t know why He sacrificed His life. Oh but I’m glad. I’m glad He did.” Andrae Crouch